Here is the Zenit translation of the synod “small circle” report from the Spanish-Speaking group B. On October 17, 2019, during the course of 13th General Congregation on the Amazon, the Reports of the 12 Minor Circles were presented. These ‘Minor Circles’ met in the recent General Congregations. Translations of all circles will be provided as soon as possible:
Rapporteur: His Most Revd. Excellency Mons. Francisco J. MUNERA CORREA, I.M.C.
Moderator: His Most Revd. Excellency Mons. Edmundo P. VALENZUELA MELLID, S.D.B.
In our Minor Circle, we lived two very significant moments of communion and participation in a synodal key. The first was when we began the works on Thursday, October 10. All of us participants put our expectations, concerns, and hopes on the table there, with our heart and mind anchored in the cries of our respective ecclesial communities and in the answers of this Synodal Assembly. We lived the second moment taking up again the works of the Circles, on Wednesday the 16th. This was a moment of intense questioning, in which we let resonate within us Pope Francis’ appeal to the entire Synodal Assembly to place ourselves beyond our perspectives, still made up of much human calculation, and to put ourselves more in the logic of God’s “overflowing” love to us, gratuitousness and mercy to embrace with this other look the work that the Lord asks of us as Church, which at the same time makes herself “living presence” and walks “itinerant” in Amazonia.
During the works of the Minor Circles, our Circle addressed and reflected further on three great subjects concerned with the Life and evangelizing action of the Church in Amazonia, namely: 1) ministeriality; 2) the defense of life and human rights and 3) the action of the Church in the care of our “Common Home.”
- A NEW MINISTERIALITY FOR THE CHURCH IN AMAZONIA
To address this subject, we began with a look at the reality of the Church in Amazonia, through the diagnosis offered by the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM), referring to the presence and absence of the different lay and ordained ministries in the jurisdictions of our countries. This enabled us to become more aware of the immense need to strengthen this essential dimension of the Church with its own Amazonian and Indian face.
1.1.The Institution of New Lay Ministries
Our Circle regarded as very necessary the strengthening of the lay ministries, beginning with the implementation of the ministries instituted of Lectorship and Accolyteship, foreseen already in the Motu Proprio “Ministeriam Quaedam” (1971), but amplified in its implementation not only to men but also to women. Moreover, it is important that a diversified ministeriality be profiled for the Church in Amazonia, which takes into account those ministries geared to the care and growth of life in the interior of a community, outstanding among which are the ministry of the animator, coordinator, and guide of the community, and the ministry of the catechist. Then, in keeping with the local needs, an enormous variety of services surface, which can also be instituted, prior to discernment within the ecclesial community.
In regard to the evangelizing action in Amazonia, it is very appropriate to establish and institute ministries, which are geared to the different ambits of the missionary action of the Church, such as art, culture, health, politics, education, the environments, and others. In this perspective, the care of the Common Home, the ministry of reception and hospitality are regarded as opportune and necessary, which will help to assume and accompany the situation of migrants, and the ministry that looks at the reality of social communications and the new technologies. Sight must not be lost <of the fact> that all these ministries are in the logic of service and gratuitousness and must be fully integrated in the cultural dynamics of their own communities, be they Indian, peasant or urban of our Amazonia. Their institution must be formalized in a rite, prior to the appropriate formation and subsequent accompaniment.
1.2. The Ministry of the Permanent Diaconate
In the reflection on the Permanent Diaconate, this Circle invites to take up and continue to apply the lights of Vatican II in Lumen Gentium and to develop them according to the guidelines of the Ad Gentes Document for a greater inculturation of this ministry in Amazonia. Proposed likewise is that its direct link with the Bishop’s ministry be highlighted to open further his action towards the poor and the missionary peripheries. That its promotion, formation, and accompaniment be carried out through the Ecclesiastical Provinces, counting, moreover, with support on the part of CELAM and of REPAM to configure an ecclesial organism that consolidates the task if its inculturation in Amazonia.
1.3. Regarding the possibility of posing the question of the Diaconate for women in the Church, taken up and in tune with various opinions expressed in the Synodal Hall, this Circle encourages the continued study of this subject, looking more to its future possibilities than to its past history. Acknowledged, moreover, is that many functions proper to this ministry are carried out by women in Amazonia, they being the ones that sustain in many places the permanent presence of the Church and nourish the processes of the faith.
1.4. Presbyterial Formation
This subject was amply considered in the Minor Circle, given the importance it has for the present and future of the ecclesial communities of Amazonia, to be able to count on sufficient and qualified Presbyters with their own profile, which contributes to the new pathways needed in the Territory. For this reason, it points to a formation founded on personalized and community processes of Christian initiation and of permanent conversion, confronted with inculturation and inter-culturation and with a highly communal and missionary viewpoint. All of it implies a careful adaptation of the “Ratio Fundamentalis” and of the “Ratio Studiorum” to the conditions of Amazonia and of the reflection of indigenous theology, in addition to a careful selection and preparation of the formators, who understand affectively the territory and its dynamics.
There must be, at the base of all this, a strong option for the youth and the vocational pastoral in our respective particular Churches. It must not be forgotten that it is evangelized young people who give a young face to the Church. Stressed, at the level of more concrete proposals, was the possibility to create an indigenous Seminary for Amazonia.
1.5. In regard to the priestly ordination of married men in Amazonia, the approach to this subject was looked at by the Minor Circle from the viewpoint of listening to and discerning the voice of the Spirit, which invites us to take up the cry of our communities and to look with compassion at the way in which a right answer could be given so that the sacramental life, linked to the presidency of the community by the Sacrament of Holy Orders, flows for the personal, communal and missionary growth of the People of God of our Amazonia. The proposal is geared to ask the Holy Father <about> the possibility to confer the Presbyterate on married men for Amazonia, in an exceptional way, under specific circumstances, and for some specific peoples, establishing clearly the reasons that justify it. It is not at all about second class presbyters. It must be taken into account that many are the voices that insist that this subject be decided for Amazonia in the present Synodal Assembly. Other voices, instead, think that it should be studied and defined in a specific Synodal Assembly.
1.6. The Pastoral of “Itinerancy” in Amazonia
The Minor Circle proposed acknowledging the significant, complementary and inter-disciplinary value that this Pastoral of “Itinerancy” has, serving the different geographic and cultural borders of our Amazonia and it sees in this experience a very valuable reference that puts beside presence and insertion, a lifestyle and a spirituality of the way, the visitation and a not comfortable installation. These experiences, which are being accompanied by the Latin American Conference of Religious (CLAR), must continue to promote themselves in greater articulation with the different ecclesiastical jurisdictions.
2. THE ACTION OF THE CHURCH IN THE DEFENSE OF LIFE AND OF HUMAN RIGHTS
A first aspect to be considered is that all the pastorals present in our plans of Evangelization must be geared to life and life in abundance in Christ, as proclaimed in the Document of Aparecida, taking up the fundamental urgencies and appeals of Amazonia.
From the awareness of the fragility of Amazonia and also of the Church that lives there, an appeal is made to strengthen communion and solidarity at all levels, appreciating the experiences of integration of the border churches, both in each country as well as the neighbouring ones; to take advantage of and to strengthen CELAM’s Observatory of Reality at the service of the countries of Amazonia; to address jointly the challenge of migrations with an appropriate pastoral of reception and hospitality.
An updated “mapping” and knowledge of the international standards exacted of our governments are two permanent instruments for the defense and promotion of life and of the territory. With these two instruments the Church, through the Commissions of Justice, Peace, and Care of Creation and the Episcopal Conferences, can exact a permanent enforceability before international organisms, always in defense of the life of the weakest and of the territory.
All types of violence, especially to women and to <our> sister “Mother Earth,” require special attention. Anxiety arose about a possible relation between violence to women and violence to the earth. They all call for greater prophetic denunciation on the part of the Church and greater protection and solidarity through the culture of dialogue and encounter, favoured by spirituality and a pedagogy of peace and reconciliation for the resolution of conflicts,, which will make it possible to generate <attitudes> of respect and non-violence at the level of families, of educational institutions, of work environments and others.
3. THE ACTION OF THE CHURCH IN THE CARE OF THE COMMON HOME
Imperative in our particular Churches is further reflection, adaptation, and implementation of the programmatic proposal in chapter 5 of “Laudato Si’ for the topic of influence and chapter 6 for education and spirituality.
In consonance with IL 56, we consider it fundamental to promote all actions that lead us to be sensitized, to become aware and to commit ourselves in the care of our Common Home. This must be supported by a spirituality that strengthens us in the call to listen, to contemplate and to proclaim.
Hence the insistence on proposals that lead effectively to a change of paradigm in our relation with brothers, especially the poor and Sister Earth: “To hear the cry of the poor and of the earth.”
Among the proposals we wish to highlight, first of all, the decision for the whole Church and, as mature fruit of the Synod of Amazonia, a preferential option for the care and protection of our Common Home, and to appreciate the inspiring figures of Saint Francis of Assisi and of our missionaries and martyrs of Amazonia. Other proposals have to do with the implementation of the Chair of “Integral Ecology”: the integration of traditional knowledge of health, food and other things of the ancestral indigenous peoples; rescue of the different rituals, symbols and celebratory ways of indigenous communities (Cf. IL 126); establish dialogues with the realm of economy to foster and strengthen all sustainable and amicable practices in the care of our Common Home; in addition, to revise the habits of cultivation of our peasant and Andean settlers to integrate them in the good practices of the “indigenous farms” in a more integral vision; to encourage all significant and alternative actions of reparation that lead to the protection of our Common Home, and to promote an ecological youth pastoral that leads children and young people to know their traditions and to love and look after the earth.[Original text: Spanish] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]